Math & Science Initiative to Serve Central & Eastern Kentucky

The P-12 Math and Science Outreach Unit of the Partnership Institute for Mathematics and Science Education Reform  (PIMSER) was recently awarded $780,000 in state grant funds. The Math and Science Partnership Award from the Kentucky Department of Education will aid in the development of a Science Leadership Support Network (SLSN) in central and eastern Kentucky.

In order to facilitate the growth of the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, PIMSER plays a vital role in public outreach programs at UK. These programs enhance learning in the STEM disciplines by working with Kentucky students as well as providing support, training, and resources for K-16 teachers.

Kim Zeidler, Director of the P-12 Math and Science Outreach Unit of PIMSER, notes that the role of PIMSER will be to oversee the implementation of this new project including design and facilitation of all SLSN meetings. More importantly, she stresses the significance of partnerships not only with various departments at UK but also with other colleges in the state.

“The Outreach Unit also works in partnership with the other colleges/departments including Becky McNall Krall, UK College of Education; Robin Cooper, UK, Professor of Biology; Paul Yeary, Alice Lloyd College, Professor of Chemistry; and Robert Arts, Pikeville College, Chair of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Professor of Education and Physics,” said Zeidler.  “The higher education partners will provide expertise in the planning and delivery of SLSN meetings.  They will also have access to the data coming out of the project for use in potential publications and sharing at Math and Science Partnership National conferences.”

Overall, the grant project supports the implementation of aspects of Senate Bill 1.  The grant will produce exciting results in teacher and administrator capacity, student learning, and collaborative research – providing a strong framework for local school improvement in mathematics and the sciences for future generations.

“The Common Core Standards Kentucky adopted in English Language Arts (ELA) has implications for science teaching and student learning,” said Zeidler. “The first year of the project will focus on developing the expertise of the participants to be able to lead local efforts to implement the science aspect of the ELA standards.  The 180 participants from the Central and Eastern districts are an indication of the commitment of the partner districts for this work.  The second year of the project will focus on Design Technology and assistance with making meaning of the revised state science standards scheduled to be released in December of 2011.”
“By far, the most exciting aspect of the project is the development of the localized expertise for continued science program improvement that will result in those districts involved in the project.”